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Among certain Native American peoples, a person, usually a male, who assumes the gender identity and is granted the social status of the opposite sex.

[North American French, from French bardache, catamite, from Italian dialectal bardascia, from Arabic bardaj, slave, from Persian bardah, prisoner, from Middle Persian vartak, from Old Iranian *varta-; see welə- in Indo-European roots.]

ber·dach′ism n.


a Native American transvestite



(in some American Indian tribes) a man who adopts the dress and social roles traditionally assigned to women.
[1800–10; < North American French; French bardache boy prostitute < South Italian bardascia < Arabic bardaj slave < Persian bardag]
References in periodicals archive ?
(108) Berdachism was widespread, with berdache existence documented in over 130 tribal societies.
The combination of external and internal hostile forces served to eventually eliminate berdachism. Valdes, supra note 85, at 241-42.